ASM Applauds Senators Harkin and Specter for Doubling NIH Budget

Janet Shoemaker

WASHINGTON, DC -- July 17, 2002 --The American Society for Microbiology (ASM) commends Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Senator Arlen Specter (R - Pa.), and members of the Senate Labor-HHS Appropriations Subcommittee for their dedication and commitment in achieving the bipartisan goal of doubling the National Institutes of Health (NIH) budget over the last five years.

"Tangible benefits to public well-being come from dedicated innovation and investment in biomedical research," says Gail Cassell, Chair of the ASM Public and Scientific Affairs Board. "Thanks in part to the tireless efforts of Senators Harkin and Specter, the NIH budget will enhance its ability to seize scientific opportunities to advance both national health and national security."

Biomedical research in the 21st century is no longer just about public health but also national defense. The doubling of the NIH budget offers the capability to develop effective measures to counter the effects of a potential bioterrorism attack, while at the same time increasing research efforts to combat old and new diseases that threaten to undermine health and well-being in this country and globally. There will be dual benefits for public health in the research investments to develop new therapeutics, vaccines, antimicrobials, and diagnostics which will carry over to health breakthroughs for all infectious diseases.

The ASM thanks Senators Harkin and Specter for their commitment to improving the health and defense of the nation and looks forward to continued efforts to sustain the momentum of high quality NIH-funded biomedical research to address the medical and biodefense needs of the nation and the world now and into the future.

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The American Society for Microbiology is the largest single life science society, composed of over 40,000 scientists and health professionals. Its mission is to promote research and research training in the microbiological sciences and to assist communication among scientists, policy makers, and the public to improve health, the environment and economic well-being.